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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - WWE and the Music Industry have A Lot in Common, for Better or for Worse
By Super Chrisss
Jan 6, 2018 - 5:26:40 PM

Tom Jenner rocks!

Happy New Year, faithful reader. I hope you and yours had a very pleasant vacation. If you're one of the lucky ones who don't have to return to school/work until this Tuesday or later - I hate you. The rest of us are dreading Monday morning, as it's back to the grind until the next holiday which isn't until...um...a very long time! But hey, at least we don't have to suffer through incessant Christmas music for the next eleven months!

Speaking of music, you may have seen people you follow on social media hyping up the debut of mega pop-star Justin Timberlake's new single, which was set to drop at midnight last Friday. For those who are too young too care, or have never heard a J.T./NSYNC song in their life (which would be lying), Timberlake is one of the most successful solo artists of all-time. I won't bore you by listing his achievements, but saying J.T. is a pretty well-known singer would definitely be an understatement. Therefore, when news broke that Timberlake would be dropping a new album in 2018 and the first single would be available as of last night, a lot of people were counting down the minutes to Friday morning.

The result? J.T.'s new song "Filthy" has been getting some very mixed reviews. Some people liked it, saying that he's bringing sexy back once again. Others thought it was so awful they couldn't even get through the whole song. The funny thing is, no matter how many negative reviews the song receives, I guarantee you it will be all over the radio for the next three months. Why? Because that's how the music industry operates. Anyone with name value will get their songs played, regardless of the quality. J.T. fans, for instance, will request the song, constantly view it on YouTube and stream it on Spotify. That's the way it's been for years, and it probably won't ever change.

Now, what does Justin Timberlake's new song have to do with wrestling, you ask? Truth be told, as I saw everyone hyping up the debut of "Filthy", I kept getting flashbacks to how WWE promoted John Cena's multiple returns to TV in 2017. They hyped up Cena's return for weeks in advance any way they could: promo packages on Raw & SmackDown, throwback clips on Twitter and Facebook, retro photos on Instagram and Snapchat. Basically, much like how the entire entertainment world knew that Timberlake would be releasing a new song on Friday, the whole WWE fanbase knew when Cena would be returning from one of his sabbaticals. Why all the hype for Cena? Because just like Timberlake, even after all these years, Cena has retained his status as an all-time great.

Moreover, whenever Cena returns, he's always booked in a high-profile capacity. Maybe not on paper, as Cena vs. Corbin and Cena's mixed tag team match at WrestleMania 33 weren't exactly the top-billed matches at either SummerSlam or 'Mania, but Cena still had his guaranteed spot on the card. WWE would never book Cena on the pre-show for any Pay-Per-View he's booked for, even if the feud has been lousy or officials aren't expecting a four-star or greater match. Cena will always have a spot because of who he is, not what he's currently doing. Cena may have had a lousy 2017 after the Royal Rumble, but the match with Roman Reigns at No Mercy getting mixed reviews from the fanbase won't stop the WWE Universe from hyping Cena's subsequent return (as we saw leading up to Survivor Series).

Again, it's the same thing with Justin Timberlake. He doesn't come out with new music anywhere as often as he used to in the aftermath of NSYNC's split in the 2000s, but when he does, it's usually well-received. That being said, J.T. is not immune to criticism by any means. A lot of people enjoyed 2016's "Can't Stop The Feeling!"; however, the same can't be said about 2018's Filthy". But as I mentioned earlier, will that stop radio stations from playing the new single over and over? Nope! Look at Taylor Swift. I don't think a single person I know dug "Look What You Made Me Do". But did we hear that song being played all the time? Yup! Did the music video receive hundreds of millions views on YouTube? Yup again! No matter the year, people like Cena, Timberlake and Swift will always get top billing and priority over younger or newer stars. That's just the way it is.

The good news is, even though it's a trend that may never die, the stars are indeed on borrowed time. There's no way John Cena will be appearing on Raw multiple times a year in 2028 - that's simply not going to happen. While Timberlake and Swift may be invited to do a show at the 2028 Grammy Awards, I would be surprised if either of them are still making brand new albums ten years from now. I mean, it would still be a big deal for any of them to show up, but their respective industries won't be making a fraction of a big deal as their appearance as they are today. Ten years is a long time for both the wrestling and the music industry. Think about all the matches you'll have watched in that time; think about all the different songs that will come out during that time period. They will forever hold a place in their respective industry's history, but everyone will have moved on by then.

Don't you find it funny that pop stations very, very rarely play new material from artists who made no more than a handful of big tunes no matter how popular their songs were? For instance, you and I probably know the chorus to "All Star" by heart - even though it came out quite a while ago - but good luck finding any new music from Smash Mouth since the early 2000s. I mean, they were still making music - but they didn't sustain their popularity. Were you aware that the Goo Goo Dolls came out with many more albums after "Iris" or that the Foo Fighters are still making kick-ass music years after "Learn To Fly" debuted? Maybe, maybe not. Even though I would never consider either of those bands "one hit wonders", I'm sure most pop stations do. Both those bands are stuck in adult top 40/rock airplay purgatory for the rest of time.

The WWE follows a similar formula. Guys like Ken Shamrock and Vader were very popular in the 1990s but never achieved the fame their peers did. In other words, when you think of The Attitude Era, you're more likely to name-drop Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Mankind than you are Shamrock or Big Man Vader. Both men continued to fight/wrestle even after leaving WWE, but many WWE fans may not be aware of that. As a result, if Shamrock was scheduled to return to Raw sometime in 2018, would WWE give him even a quarter of the hype they gave to Cena, or would give to Stone Cold or The Rock? Hell no! So what if Shamrock wrestled plenty of high-quality matches during his WWE tenure (and may still have something to offer)? He doesn't have the same level of name-value, and for the WWE, that's what matters most.

Why did I decide to talk about this seemingly random topic today? Well, I have a strong feeling I know who's going to win the 2018 Royal Rumble and I don't like it one bit. No, it's not Roman Reigns or Jinder Mahal (thank God). Instead, I think WWE is going to go against many of my colleagues' wishes for 2018 - which is for the company to distance itself from part-timers and veterans from the 1990s moving forward - and let a part-timer win the Rumble. I'll get into it more in the coming weeks but right now, I'm predicting Kevin Owens wins the WWE Championship and Shane McMahon wins the Royal Rumble. Awful stuff, I know.

Just like WWE, the music industry needs to let go of the past and embrace their current, newer stars. Justin Timberlake is cool and all, but guys like Bruno Mars and The Weeknd are putting out great stuff at the moment. While listening to Sirius XM HITS 1 this morning, the DJ mentioned that P!nk had signed her first recording deal in 1995, yet she's still getting plenty of airtime in 2018. I'm not hating on P!nk by any means, but why not play one of the thousands of younger, female artists instead?

It would be nice if both the music and the wrestling industries stopped living in the past, but why should they when the fans give them no reason to steer down a different path? I saw so many people bitching about Goldberg returning to Raw, yet his return drew one of the best ratings Raw had seen in a while. Like I mentioned earlier, I heard nothing but bad things about Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do", but the music video currently has over 800 million views n YouTube. So why the hell wouldn't the radio play such a popular song?

The message is simple, folks. If we want WWE to stop bringing back part-timers and the stars of yesteryear, we need to stop reacting so favourably. With Shane McMahon getting loud "Shane-O-Mac" chants on a weekly basis, why wouldn't WWE keep booking SmackDown's Commissioner in high-profile feuds and matches? If John Cena's return to SmackDown pulls in an extra 300,000 viewers, why wouldn't they keep pushing Cena?

If you ask me, there's a lot of questions we should be asking ourselves, as the root of both industry's 'problems' go deeper and are more complex than we may have thought. And to think, all this thinking came from a song called "Filthy". Hmmm. Happy 2018!


YOUR Two Centsss: Who is your early pick to win the Royal Rumble?

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Currently playing: Super Mario Odyssey, Overwatch, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Pokemon Shuffle.

Thanks for reading!

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